I've been wracking my brain on this review for the better part of a week and a half now, trying desperately for a way to talk about the gob-smacking rocksauce awesome that is this film without degenerating into a quivering mass of gelatonous gibbering fanboyism. I finally decided that it most likely wouldn't be possible, but I had to give it the old college try.
Following Ridley Scott's atmospheric and downright creepy Alien (1979)-Director James Cameron took an entirely different tack with his sequel. Whereas the first film focused on a small crew of miners being hunted by a solitary predatory Xenomorph, this film would see a crack team of mercenaries facing down hundreds of bone-gnawing extra-terrestrials. But anyone heading to this site knows this already. Because any film fan who claims to like Sci-Fi action, Sci-Fi horror, or movies in general has already seen this movie: Because it. Is. AWESOME.
Damn, almost made it through the first paragraph. Ok, let's try that one again.
Set fifty-seven years after the original, Ellen Riply (Sigourney Weaver), the sole-survivor of the alien attack aboard the space freighter Nostromo, wakes to a new world where all of her friends and family have long-since passed on. With no physical evidence to back up her reasons for blowing up a multi-billion dollar spacecraft, no one believes her tale of extra-terrestrial infestation, leaving her stripped of rank and marginalized. One of the most damning things against her is that the planet from whence the original alien was acquired has since been colonized, and no one has seen anything out of the ordinary for over 20 years.
Of course, before long, lots of out of the ordinary things happen, and the colony stops responding to calls from home. Time to send in the Space Marines! With Ripley along as a "Technical Alien Advisor", this rag-tag group heads down to LV-426 to find... well, you've got the idea.
I can feel the fanboy raging to get out, wanting to talk about the visual effects that still (for the most part) stand-up. Or the sheer number of genre-defining set pieces that would go on to become benchmarks for every space movie (indeed most Sci-Fi/Action movies) that followed. Or the unforgettable characters like Hudson (Bill Paxton), Vasquezz (Jenette Goldstein), Bishop (Lance Henriksen), and Hicks (Michale Biehn). Or the kick-ass final showdown between Ripley and the Alien Queen over the rousingly explosive score by James Horner! OR THE AMAZING CHASE WHERE BISHOP-
Ahh...there I go again. If I smoked, I'd need a cigarette. So let's bring it down a notch.
The Director's cut expands on the setup with the inclusion of a scene explaining the beginning of the infestation. While it's technically compitent, it slows down the pace of the film lessens the effect of seeing the planet and certain characters for the first time with the rest of the marines. However, this version also includes some other scenes that overall, make it a better experience than the theatrical version.
It goes without saying that this film comes highly recommended for the Cavalcade, family dinners, wedding anniversaries, or any other occasion. It's beyond a crowd-pleaser. It's quality entertainment that succeeds on all levels. It's safe to say: If your group of friends don't love you for screening this film... you need new friends.